November 25, 2020


Pope Francis has agreed to the decision of Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops and announced the expansion of the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan province in Poland by adding a third eparchy and appointing a local priest as the first bishop.* The new Eparchy of Olsztyn-Gdańsk (Poland) is created in the north-eastern part of the country from the territories of the Archeparchy of Przemyśl-Warszawa and the Eparchy of Wrocław-Gdańsk. The new eparchy will be called "Olsztyn-Gdansk", named after two major cities within the new eparchy's territory. The see of new eparchy will be based in the city of Olsztyn (about the size of Regina) and the Cathedral will be the church of the Protection of the Mother of God. Due to this change, besides losing part of its territory, the Eparchy of Wrocław-Gdańsk has had a name change to "Wroclaw-Koszalin" (the city of Koszalin is still on the coast of the Baltic Sea, but about 200 km west of Gdańsk).

The new eparchy, which will be administered by Metropolitan Eugene Popowicz until the new bishop is ordained and enthroned, will include 43 parishes and missions; 26 priests (which includes 4 Basilian Fathers).

The priest appointed to served as the eparchy's first bishop is a native of Poland, born on 6 January 1973 in the town of Szprotawa near Zielona Góra (green mountain). Father Arkadiusz Trochanowski (Аркадій Трохановський), after completing his studies/training at the Seminary in Lublin, Poland (which has a Ukrainian Catholic branch), was ordained to the priesthood on 29 July 2000 at Wroclaw. Since that time, he has served in various parishes and eparchial offices over the years. The parish he is now serving in the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Walcz. He also went for further studies at the University if Wroclaw and obtained a doctorate in 2012. The date and place of his episcopal ordination will be announced at a later date.

This is great news as the numbers of Ukrainian Catholics in the country require an even more developed ecclesial network to provide basic pastoral care. Due to a difficult history in that country, the official census stats of Ukrainian population have sometimes been very underestimated. The Ukrainian Catholic population in Poland has increased exponentially since the border-crossing from Ukraine became easier and the political troubles and war conflict began in the last decade or two. However, even before that, the Ukrainian population was estimated at up to a half million. The church structure struggled to meet the pastoral needs of such a number across the country. Now that the Ukrainian population can be somewhere between 1 and 2 million (!) the need is great. Even if many of them may not stay, but have come as transient workers for a few years, they still need pastoral care in a spirituality and tradition that they know. Many, will probably stay, however, and put down roots and grow their families. The existing hard-won eparchies, parishes and number of clergy, are already too little. God willing, they too will grow to a sufficient number over time.


[* For territories outside of Ukraine (e.g. Canada, Poland, Brasil), the Synod of Bishops may make decisions on various matters, but these decisions must be approved by Rome before they can be implemented. So, changes to eparchies, appointments of bishops, etc. outside of Ukraine will be studied and proposed by the Synod. However, since such decisions will involve or affect other Churches and social factors, these proposals are run past the Vatican for further study (CCEO, cc 148-149). The exception, of course, is liturgical concerns and some other matters that the bishops accept (CCEO, c. 150) - such decisions have authority everywhere.

[Sources: Zenit and UGCC websites]

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